Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Campbell Ends Top Seed Loeb's Winning Streak, Ho Beats Second Seed Clark in Fourth Round of 18s Spring Nationals

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Mobile, AL--

The rain stayed away from the Mobile Tennis Center for the first time in three days, but the upsets kept coming, with girls top seed Jamie Loeb ousted by No. 11 seed Sydney Campbell 7-5, 7-6(5) and boys second seed Brett Clark losing to No. 12 seed Jonathan Ho 6-1, 6-2.

Loeb, the Winter National 18s champion, had won nine consecutive USTA Level 1 matches until she ran into Campbell, who matched her shot for shot, and made very few errors. With Loeb serving at 5-6 in the first set, Campbell's level of her play, already high, went up a notch, and she finished points with aggressive net play while making virtually no unforced errors. Loeb, who displays an admirable combination of serenity and determination on the court, was broken in the fourth game of the second set and was down 5-2, albeit just one break, before she began her comeback.

In building her lead, Campbell continued to blast her ground strokes, with her backhand especially effective. She saved two break points at 4-2 with outright winners from that side, and also finished points with well-timed swinging volleys and tricky overheads into the bright afternoon sun. Loeb held at love for 5-3, and with Campbell serving for the match, Loeb took advantage of her third break point to get back on serve. Loeb reasserted her forehand, hitting two winners from that side to get to 5-5.

With Campbell playing so well, Loeb had to hope her opponent's level would drop, and it finally did when Campbell made three wild errors off the ground and double faulted to hand Loeb a 6-5 lead.

Serving for the set, Loeb saw Campbell bounce back, with two winners and her own unforced error making it 0-40. Loeb saved two break points, but not the third, settling for a tiebreaker when she netted a backhand at 30-40.

Campbell was determined not to let the match get away from her, as she believed she had done in her previous meeting with Loeb at the Winter Nationals two years ago.

"That actually had happened before, when she won it (from 5-2 down) in the first set, so I said, I've been here before and I told myself that this is not going to turn out the same way," said Campbell, from Franklin, Tenn. "I had to really dig deep and fight."

In the tiebreaker, Campbell fell behind 2-1 when she was overruled by the roving umpire on a shot on the baseline that she had called out, but it didn't affect her, as she went on to take the next four points to lead 5-2, with two serves coming. She lost both however, to make it 5-4, and Loeb pulled even when Campbell's backhand went wide. Campbell again stayed calm, and constructed two similar points to win the match, sending Loeb running wide to her forehand and forcing errors with her angle and depth.

"This is a very good win," said Campbell, who although just a junior, has already committed to Vanderbilt for 2013. "She's a very talented player, obviously the one seed, and she won Winters last year. I played really well, and felt it was one of my more solid matches. So it feels good."

Campbell will play No. 6 seed Brooke Austin, who won the battle of the Junior Orange Bowl champions in the fourth round. Austin, the 2010 14s champion, beat unseeded Katerina Stewart, the 2011 winner, 6-3, 6-1.

The other quarterfinal in the top half has No. 4 seed Madeline Lipp against No. 15 seed Maegan Manasse. Lipp down Emily Safron, a 17 seed, 7-5, 6-2, and Manasse took care of unseeded wild card Madison Bourguignon 6-1, 6-2.

Unseeded Lexi Borr surprised No. 5 seed Lynn Chi 6-1, 6-2, using her consistency and defense to frustrate the Floridian.

"I knew she was a really aggressive opponent so I knew that if I could be consistent and keep my ground strokes deep and not let her attack me too much, I could keep it tight," said the 16-year-old from New Jersey. "I didn't know that it was going to be that quick."

Borr, who is playing in just her second 18s National Level 1, is seeing improvement in her game this week.

"I playing better now than I was a few months ago. I've been working on my game a lot," said Borr, who trains with Ed Poole at the Westfield Indoor Tennis Club. "I wasn't that confident coming in, but my first few matches I built more and more confidence and now I'm feeling pretty good about my game and I'm excited for tomorrow."

Borr will play No. 3 seed Frances Altick, who defeated Gabrielle Otero, a No. 17 seed, 6-4, 6-1.

The fourth quarterfinal match Thursday will feature No. 8 Ashley Dai and unseeded wild card Josie Kuhlman. Dai beat No. 10 seed Kourtney Keegan 6-3, 6-1, while Kuhlman defeated Rachel Pierson, a No. 17 seed who had beaten second seed Whitney Kay on Tuesday, 6-1, 6-3.

Of the day's 16 main draw matches, 14 of them were decided in straight sets, with No. 13 seed Brian Page and Josh Levine, a No. 17 seed, the only winners needing three sets to advance. Page beat wild card Maxx Lipman 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to set up a meeting with No. 3 seed Ronnie Schneider, who downed Harrison Richmond, a 17 seed, 6-3, 6-2.

Levine also came from a set down, beating No. 14 seed Casey Kay 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1, and will now face no. 5 seed Gage Brymer. Brymer and Becker O'Shaughnessey, a 17 seed, had a very close and entertaining match with Brymer ultimately taking a 6-3, 7-5 decision. Levine, who was named Player of the Day for his win over No. 4 seed Nolan Paige on Tuesday, was interviewed by Dave Kozlowski for Tennis Channel here.

Top seed Jared Hiltzik was in top form against unseeded Andrew Schafer, winning 6-0, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal match with No. 8 seed Nicholas Naumann. Naumann beat No. 9 seed Brendan McClain 6-1, 6-3.

The two major upsets were in the bottom quarter, with No. 15 seed Ryan Shane blitzing No. 6 seed Nick Wood 6-2, 6-0, and No. 12 seed Jonathan Ho routing No. 2 seed Brett Clark 6-2, 6-1.

"I had a good game plan coming out," said Ho, who will be starting at Wake Forest this fall. "I knew I had to be solid off both sides and not give him too much of an opening, move him side to side and make sure he's not getting a rhythm."

Ho had taken Clark to three sets at a regional tournament last July, and was able to build confidence and a game plan from that match.

"I learned from that match, remembered the stuff he did well and the stuff I did well that was working," said Ho. "I thought I played really, really well, and didn't play out of myself, just controlled. I knew he was always going to fight hard, so I tried not to let off the gas too much. I really didn't have any focus lapses, so that was good."

For complete results, including doubles and consolation, see the TennisLink site.